What Is Performance Creative? & How it Transforms Digital Marketing Strategies
blog post | marketing

What Is Performance Creative? & How it Transforms Digital Marketing Strategies

Dennis Zechman Team Photo
Dennis ZechmanCreative Director

Performance creative has emerged as a key component in digital marketing, bringing a fresh perspective to how we approach advertising and test creative. It relies on in-depth data analysis to inform creative decisions, employs a rigorous creative testing framework to identify winning ads, and scales the successful campaigns to maximize impact. This approach, which combines creativity, data, and testing provides a more nuanced and effective way of reaching and engaging with audiences in the digital space.

What is performance creative?

At its core, performance creative is a data-driven strategy that leverages a variety of techniques and methodologies. It’s not just UGC ads, testing ad colors, or incorporating CTA buttons. It’s that and so much more, including:

  • Exploring different ad formats
  • Scaling winning ads
  • Crafting converting landing pages
  • Penning benefit-driven copy

Beyond that, there are many directions to incorporate while concepting and designing ads to help grab the users attention:

  • Customer stories, reviews, and testimonials
  • Problem / solution or before / after visuals
  • Visual cues like arrows or pointing fingers
  • Bold and unexpected visuals or expressions
  • Checklists
  • Hand-drawn visuals or hand-written notes
  • State-specific copy and/or visuals
  • Text heavy ads

As noted in an article by MarketingDoctor, these varied inputs provide valuable insights that can be harnessed to measure and optimize performance.

Data and creativity: the new power couple

While there are plenty of techniques that help determine creative approaches —the key to success is learning from and leveraging data. It’s important to have a team that can seamlessly blend data analysis with creative thinking.

Enter creative strategists who have the ability to dissect performance data, formulate hypotheses, and craft strategies and briefs that yield success. Highlighting a crucial insight from MotionApp, successful creative strategists integrate data-driven decision-making with innovative creative processes, ensuring that every campaign is both artistically compelling and strategically grounded. These strategists collaborate closely with paid media teams to make decisions that are both data-informed and beneficial to the account.

The intersection of creativity and data analysis is pivotal to the success of performance creative. The ability to use data to guide creative decisions ensures that every ad is underpinned by purposeful insights. It’s this unique fusion of data and creativity that distinguishes performance creative from other digital marketing strategies.

How to Get Started with Performance Creative Marketing

Embarking on a performance creative marketing strategy involves a blend of creativity, data analysis, and continuous optimization. Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Setting Up

The initial phase of performance creative marketing involves thorough research and clear objective-setting. Start by defining what you hope to achieve with your campaign, such as increasing website traffic by 20% or boosting lead generation by 30%. These specific, measurable goals will guide the direction of your creative efforts and help you monitor progress effectively. It’s also crucial to gather relevant data that not only ensures these goals are attainable but also reveals what your target audience is looking for. This data will form the foundation of your strategy, enabling you to tailor your creative assets to meet the audience’s needs and preferences.

2. Tracking

To effectively measure the success of your performance creative marketing efforts, you need to set up the right metrics and tracking systems from the start. Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates or engagement levels, will help you gauge the success of your campaigns. Utilize tools like Google Analytics to set up real-time dashboards that provide insights into how your ads are performing. This setup is crucial for understanding the impact of your creative decisions and making informed adjustments.

3. Develop a Creative Brief

Creating a comprehensive creative brief is essential for aligning your team’s efforts with your marketing objectives. The brief should include detailed audience personas, key messages, and the desired actions you want your audience to take. This document will serve as a guideline for your creative team, ensuring that every piece of creative is strategically designed to resonate with your target demographic and drive the campaign’s goals. Include both the rational and emotional appeals that the creative should evoke, ensuring that all outputs are cohesive and effective.

4. Test Creative

So how do you ensure that creative strategists get conclusive and actionable data? By building out a methodical creative testing framework.

First, you need to set up ads in the platform to ensure you get back statistically significant data on each ad:

  1. Use non-dynamic ad sets where possible
  2. Allocate appropriate spend to each concept
  3. Allow sufficient time to run

Dara Denney’s YouTube video, How To Test Facebook Ads Creative in 2024, provides an excellent example of this approach on Facebook.

The approach to test creative can vary greatly depending on the account spend and the type of client. It’s about understanding the unique needs and goals of each account and tailoring the testing methodology accordingly.

Once the ads have launched and reach statistical significance, evaluate them against your defined target KPIs. This allows you to quickly identify winning creative.

It’s critical to take that winning creative and scale it to stave off fatigue and increase the concept’s longevity. Some popular ways to scale include:

  • Testing messaging in other ad formats (video, image, gif, carousel, etc.)
  • Making small iterative changes to messaging, visuals, or colors based on what we know works from other winners
  • Tweaking UGC creative:
    • Change VO
    • Film with a different creator
    • Add in other creators for compilation ads
    • Recut into shorter or longer ads
    • Use AI to change into other languages
    • Test additional hooks

Don’t stop here though — always be on the lookout for the next winning idea. Use all the learnings from your creative tests, even from ads that failed to meet KPIs, to inform your next creative brief. Adopt an iterative approach to your marketing efforts by continuously tracking and experimenting with new ideas based on data-driven insights. This cycle helps keep your marketing strategies fresh and responsive to evolving audience preferences.

WebMechanix’s approach to performance creative

At WebMechanix, we take performance creative to an entirely new level. We use this data-driven approach with creative strategists who also understand the importance of brand value. We strive to strike a balance between the two, ensuring that our performance techniques do not compromise the brand’s integrity.

We develop creative roadmaps so our client partners are always in the loop. They know exactly what we’re working on and why we’re doing it. This transparency is a crucial part of our approach to performance creative.

Performance creative is more than just a strategy; it’s a fundamental shift in the digital marketing landscape. It’s about leveraging data, creativity, and testing to create ads that resonate with the audience and drive conversions. By understanding and embracing performance creative, marketers can propel their brands into a new era of success. How will you boost your next creative task performance?

About the writer
Dennis Zechman Team Photo
Dennis Zechman | Creative Director
Dennis solves design challenges with data and creativity, culminating in engaging and impactful work. Looking for a file? He likely knows where it is.

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